Teens start at 10

Tweens are the new teens, say child development experts. .

. . physical and behavioral changes that would have been typical of teenagers decades ago are now common among “tweens” _ kids ages 8 to 12.

Some of them are going on “dates” and talking on their own cell phones. They listen to sexually charged pop music, play mature-rated video games and spend time gossiping on MySpace. And more girls are wearing makeup and clothing that some consider beyond their years.

Improved nutrition — and obesity –are causing more girls to start menstruating in elementary school. Technology gives children more access to “adult” images.

Sex, violence and foul language that used to be relegated to late-night viewing and R-rated movies are expected fixtures in everyday TV.

And some parents fail to set limits for their children.

About Joanne


  1. Jerry Mander’s Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television is still as valid as ever.

  2. Adolescence will be longer? Horrors!

  3. …And some parents fail to set limits for their children.

    well said…

    just because they have the bodies… like my 10 and 12 year olds… music and tv is restricted… to the best of my ability. But even as a homeschooler, there is only so much of the WORLD that I can shut out.

  4. Personally, I like Tolkien’s definition of “tween” better: the “irresponsible” years between 20 and “coming of age” at 33. An 8-year-old is a little kid and should remain such…

  5. Actually, I am going to disagree. What is really going on is the expansion of “tween” being expanded on both ends. So there are less traditional kids and less traditional adults. I call it age regression or age compression. There is this new territory of in-between age that is mostly driven by technology, not “sexual images” necessarily. It is much, much broader. Kids want more sophistication like ipods and video games compared to earlier generations. Adults want to be able to have time to have fun too. For example, there are more adults admitting to be collector of toys and games (stuff seen as being for kids in earlier times) than any other time in history. So kids seem more sophisticated and adults are hanging on to childhood in more ways. Kids and adults are more alike, in both good ways and bad ways.